Tiny Jaarsma, RH, PhD, FAHA
Professor, University of Linköping, Sweden
How long have you been an AHA/ASA Professional Member?
I joined the AHA in 1993 when I was a master’s student in cardiovascular nursing in the Netherlands, just after my first AHA conference. During my career toward professorship, I continued my AHA membership to become a Premium Professional Member.
Why did you join?
I joined the AHA because I wanted to collaborate with scientists in my field, and I knew that the AHA unites a large number of excellent and dedicated nurse researchers in the area of cardiovascular care. At that time, I also was working as a staff member in the Netherlands Heart Foundation. I recognized that the AHA was a real example of how to work together with volunteers, professionals and scientists to improve care for cardiac patients.
Are you involved in AHA councils?
I am a fellow member of the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing (CVSN) and of the Council on Quality of Care and Outcomes Research (QCOR). Our regional affiliate membership is a little different than members from the U.S. But even in my previous homeland, the Netherlands, and at my current location in Sweden, I am involved in national activities, either as a reviewer or on the advisory board for national grants or activities. I also try to be instrumental with the Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing and serve as a bridge to the members of the Council on Cardiovascular Nursing and allied professionals of the European Society of Cardiology whenever I can.
What do you enjoy most about these roles?
I feel at home in the AHA Council on Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing. Working with colleagues in this council is always inspirational. A lot of my current research collaborations started at Scientific Sessions. I also enjoy bringing new colleagues or doctoral students to the AHA and introducing them to the activities in the councils. They are always very impressed.
How else are you involved with the AHA?
I was very honored to receive the Cardiovascular and Stroke Nursing Councils’ Katharine A. Lembright Award in 2013. I have also been a member of a writing group of two scientific statements of the AHA that address sexual counseling and sexual activity in cardiac patients.
Why is membership valuable to you?
AHA membership gives me the opportunity to establish collaboration with an international perspective and to find mentors and mentees. For our European associations, the AHA is an inspiring example on how, for example, to mentor junior colleagues, how to support research careers or how to think really multidisciplinary on an equal level.
What message would you convey to your colleagues about being an AHA member?
I would ask them why they are not members yet and tell them to become a member as soon as possible. The AHA can really help you advance your career — and you meet great people.